Deutsch Intern
Rudolf Virchow Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging

Böttcher Group

We use and develop high-resolution electron cryo microscopy and image processing to understand how biological complexes work. In particular we are interested in the modular organization, which enables complex functionalities by combining various modules with different properties into a single entity.  

Structural dynamics of Biological Complexes

To learn more about the unifying structural principles of complex functionality we study many different types of complexes in different functional states. Among these complexes are mechanosensitive channels of small conductance. Here we want to elucidate how the interplay between proteins and lipids enables gating and mechanosensation.  Other complexes include viral capsids, for which we want to clarify the structural mechanisms of signalling and viral maturation.

Website Chair of Biochemistry

Endres, S., E. Karaev, S. Hanio, J. Schlauersbach, C. Kraft, T. Rasmussen, R. Luxenhofer, B. Bottcher, L. Meinel and A. C. Poppler (2022). "Concentration and composition dependent aggregation of Pluronic- and Poly-(2-oxazolin)-Efavirenz formulations in biorelevant media." J Colloid Interface Sci 606: 1179-1192. 10.1016/j.jcis.2021.08.040

Haider, M. S., A. K. Mahato, A. Kotliarova, S. Forster, B. Bottcher, P. Stahlhut, Y. Sidorova and R. Luxenhofer (2022). "Biological Activity In Vitro, Absorption, BBB Penetration, and Tolerability of Nanoformulation of BT44:RET Agonist with Disease-Modifying Potential for the Treatment of Neurodegeneration." Biomacromolecules. 10.1021/acs.biomac.2c00761

Seifert, A., T. Tylek, C. Blum, N. Hemmelmann, B. Bottcher, U. Gbureck and J. Groll (2022). "Calcium phosphate-based biomaterials trigger human macrophages to release extracellular traps." Biomaterials 285: 121521. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121521

Alexander, L. T., R. Lepore, A. Kryshtafovych, A. Adamopoulos, M. Alahuhta, A. M. Arvin, Y. J. Bomble, B. Bottcher, C. Breyton, V. Chiarini, N. B. Chinnam, W. Chiu, K. Fidelis, R. Grinter, G. D. Gupta, M. D. Hartmann, C. S. Hayes, T. Heidebrecht, A. Ilari, A. Joachimiak, Y. Kim, R. Linares, A. L. Lovering, V. V. Lunin, A. N. Lupas, C. Makbul, K. Michalska, J. Moult, P. K. Mukherjee, W. S. Nutt, S. L. Oliver, A. Perrakis, L. Stols, J. A. Tainer, M. Topf, S. E. Tsutakawa, M. Valdivia-Delgado and T. Schwede (2021). "Target highlights in CASP14: Analysis of models by structure providers." Proteins 89: 1647-1672. 10.1002/prot.26247

Böttcher, B. (2021). Hepatitis B Core Protein Capsids. Macromolecular Protein Complexes III: Structure and Function. J. R. Harris and J. Marles-Wright. Cham, Springer International Publishing: 451-470.

Flegler, V. J., A. Rasmussen, K. Borbil, L. Boten, H. A. Chen, H. Deinlein, J. Halang, K. Hellmanzik, J. Loffler, V. Schmidt, C. Makbul, C. Kraft, R. Hedrich, T. Rasmussen and B. Bottcher (2021). "Mechanosensitive channel gating by delipidation." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 118. 10.1073/pnas.2107095118 

Flegler, V. J., T. Rasmussen and B. Bottcher (2021). "More Than Just Closed and Open: Unraveling a Mechanosensor." Trends Biochem Sci. 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.04.002

Grauel, A., J. Kagi, T. Rasmussen, I. Makarchuk, S. Oppermann, A. F. A. Moumbock, D. Wohlwend, R. Muller, F. Melin, S. Gunther, P. Hellwig, B. Bottcher and T. Friedrich (2021). "Structure of Escherichia coli cytochrome bd-II type oxidase with bound aurachin D." Nat Commun 12: 6498. 10.1038/s41467-021-26835-2 

Makbul, C., V. Khayenko, H. M. Maric and B. Bottcher (2021). "Conformational Plasticity of Hepatitis B Core Protein Spikes Promotes Peptide Binding Independent of the Secretion Phenotype." Microorganisms 9: 956. 10.3390/microorganisms9050956

Makbul, C., C. Kraft, M. Griessmann, T. Rasmussen, K. Katzenberger, M. Lappe, P. Pfarr, C. Stoffer, M. Stohr, A. M. Wandinger and B. Bottcher (2021). "Binding of a Pocket Factor to Hepatitis B Virus Capsids Changes the Rotamer Conformation of Phenylalanine 97." Viruses 13. 10.3390/v13112115 

Flegler, V. J., A. Rasmussen, S. Rao, N. Wu, R. Zenobi, M. S. P. Sansom, R. Hedrich, T. Rasmussen and B. Bottcher (2020). "The MscS-like channel YnaI has a gating mechanism based on flexible pore helices." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117: 28754-28762. 10.1073/pnas.2005641117

Hahn, L., M. Maier, P. Stahlhut, M. Beudert, V. Flegler, S. Förster, A. Altmann, F. Toppke, K. Fischer, S. Seiffert, B. Böttcher, T. Luhmann and R. Luxenhofer (2020). "Inverse Thermogelation of Aqueous Triblock Copolymer Solutions into Macroporous Shear-Thinning 3D Printable Inks." ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 12: 12445-12456. 10.1021/acsami.9b21282

Haider, M. S., M. M. Lubtow, S. Endres, S. Förster, V. J. Flegler, B. Böttcher, V. O. Aseyev, A. C. Pöppler and R. Luxenhofer (2020). "Think beyond the core: The impact of the hydrophilic corona on the drug solubilization using polymer micelles." ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 12: 24531-24543. 10.1021/acsami.9b22495

Makbul, C., M. Nassal and B. Bottcher (2020). "Slowly folding surface extension in the prototypic avian hepatitis B virus capsid governs stability." Elife 9. 10.7554/eLife.57277

Wiest, J., J. Kehrein, M. Saedtler, K. Schilling, E. Cataldi, C. A. Sotriffer, U. Holzgrabe, T. Rasmussen, B. Bottcher, M. Cronin-Golomb, M. Lehmann, N. Jung, M. Windbergs and L. Meinel (2020). "Controlling Supramolecular Structures of Drugs by Light." Mol Pharm 17: 4704-4708. 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.0c00720

Architecture of the mycobacterial type VII secretion system. Famelis N., Rivera-Calzada A., Degliesposti G., Wingender M., Mietrach N., Skehel J. M., Fernandez-Leiro R., Böttcher B., Schlosser A., Llorca O. and Geibel S. (2019). Nature Oct 9; doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1633-1.

Structural Basis of Poxvirus Transcription: Vaccinia RNA Polymerase Complexes. Grimm C., Hillen H. S., Bedenk K., Bartuli J., Neyer S., Zhang Q., Huttenhofer A., Erlacher M., Dienemann C., Schlosser A., Urlaub H., Böttcher B., Szalay A. A., Cramer P. and Fischer U. (2019). Cell Dec 12; 179 (7): 1537-50 e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.024.

Homologous bd oxidases share the same architecture but differ in mechanism. Thesseling# A., Rasmussen# T., Burschel S., Wohlwend D., Kagi J., Müller R., Böttcher* B. and Friedrich* T. (2019). Nat Commun Nov 13; 10 (1): 5138. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13122-4.

Structure of the Mechanosensitive Channel MscS Embedded in the Membrane Bilayer. Rasmussen T., Flegler V. J., Rasmussen A. and Böttcher B. (2019). J Mol Biol Aug 9; 431 (17): 3081-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2019.07.006.

Hepatitis B virus core protein phosphorylation: Identification of the SRPK1 target sites and impact of their occupancy on RNA binding and capsid structure. Heger-Stevic J., Zimmermann P., Lecoq L., Böttcher B. and Nassal M. (2018). PLoS Pathog Dec 19; 14 (12): e1007488. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007488.

Capabilities of the Falcon III detector for single-particle structure determination. Song, B., J. Lenhart, V. J. Flegler, C. Makbul, T. Rasmussen and B. Böttcher (2019). Ultramicroscopy 203: 145-154.

Structure of Mutant Hepatitis B Core Protein Capsids with Premature Secretion Phenotype.Böttcher B. and Nassal M. (2018). J Mol Biol 430 4941–54. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2018.10.018.

Geometrical and Structural Dynamics of Imatinib within Biorelevant Colloids. Wiest J., Saedtler M., Böttcher B., Grune M., Reggane M., Galli B., Holzgrabe U. and Meinel L. (2018). Mol Pharm Aug 28; 15 4470-80. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b00469.

Near-Atomic Resolution Structure of a Plant Geminivirus Determined by Electron Cryomicroscopy. Hipp K., Grimm C., Jeske H. and Böttcher B. (2017). Structure Aug 01; 25 (8): 1303-9 e3. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2017.06.013.

Structural reorganization of the chromatin remodeling enzyme Chd1 upon engagement with nucleosomes. Sundaramoorthy R., Hughes A. L., Singh V., Wiechens N., Ryan D. P., El-Mkami H., Petoukhov M., Svergun D. I., Treutlein B., Quack S., Fischer M., Michaelis J., Böttcher B., Norman D. G. and Owen-Hughes T. (2017). Elife Mar 23; 6 doi: 10.7554/eLife.22510.

Biophysical characterization and activity of lymphostatin, a multifunctional virulence factor of attaching & effacing Escherichia coli. Cassady-Cain R. L., Blackburn E. A., Alsarraf H., Dedic E., Bease A. G., Böttcher B., Jorgensen R., Wear M. and Stevens M. P. (2016). J Biol Chem Jan 19; 291 5803-16. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.709600.

Cathelicidins Have Direct Antiviral Activity against Respiratory Syncytial Virus In Vitro and Protective Function In Vivo in Mice and Humans. Currie S. M., Gwyer Findlay E., McFarlane A. J., Fitch P. M., Böttcher B., Colegrave N., Paras A., Jozwik A., Chiu C., Schwarze J. and Davidson D. J. (2016). J Immunol Mar 15; 196 (6): 2699-710. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502478.

Prof. Dr. Bettina Böttcher

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2

97080 Würzburg
Building: D15
Room: 00.034

Vanessa Flegler

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15
Room: 00.033

Tamsanqa Tafara Hove

Head of Image-Processing Facility (electron cryo microscopy)
Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15
Room: 00.033
Phone: 0931 31-81027

Dr. Tim Rasmussen

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15
Room: 00.033

Current position


Professor for Biochemistry with Focus on Electron Cryo Microscopy at the Julius-Maximilians University Würzburg (since 2016).

Research Experience

since 2016

Professor for Biochemistry with Focus on Electron Cryo Microscopy at the Julius-Maximilians University Würzburg


Personal Chair in Electron Microscopy and Image Processing at the University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences


Head of the Cryo-EM facility in Edinburgh


Reader at the University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences


Group leader at the EMBL-Heidelberg


C1-position in Physical Chemistry at the Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg


PostDoc at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Medical Research council, Cambridge UK




Habilitation; Venia Legendi in Physical Chemistry; Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


Dr. rer. nat.: University Stuttgart


Editorial Work

Since 2017

Member of the Faculty of 1000

since 2014

since 2012

Member of the editorial board of PeerJ

Member of the Editorial Board of Scientifica


Honors and Awards


Darwin-Trust Senior Research Fellow



Ernst Ruska Prize for Electron Microscopy

Boris-Rajewsky Prize for Biophysics


Human Capital and Mobility fellowship (EU)




DFG-Research Fellowship

Lecture/ seminar in imaging techniques in the life sciences

Literature seminar `Electron Microscopy in Structural Biology`

Methods in Life Sciences (Focus Lecture)

Lecture /Seminar Electron microscopy and image processing in structural biology

Internship Electron microscopy und imaging techniques